Detect Phishing and Secure Your Information Online

8/4/2022

Security

Cybercriminals can change their ways quickly. The phishing scam is a popular technique for taking advantage of online users. They start picking up new security measures rapidly and develop new methods for stealing sensitive data, frequently preying on people unaware of the obvious indications of popular scams.

Online phishing scams are run by tech-savvy con artists and criminals who steal identities. They attempt to fool you into disclosing important information, such as bank account passwords and credit card data, by sending spam and creating fake websites that appear just like actual websites, email, and instant chats. Once you fall for the phisher’s trap, the information obtained might be used to open fake accounts in your name, damage your credit, steal your money, or even steal your identity.

In this article, Learn how it works so that you may recognize and avoid phishing scams and safeguard your data from attackers, which also discusses the various phishing techniques used by hackers.

Phishing

One of the oldest and most well-known frauds on the internet is phishing. Phishing is any form of telecommunications fraud soliciting victims’ personal information through social engineering techniques. Three things make a phishing attack:

  • Electronic communications, such as email or phone calls, are used to carry out the attack.
  • The attacker acts as a person or entity that you can rely on.
  • The intention is to get sensitive personal data, including credit card details or login information.

The word “phishing” comes from this trick: The cybercriminal lures victims from the wide “ocean” of internet users by “fishing” for them with alluring “bait.” The “ph” in “phishing” derives from the pastime of “phone phreaking,” which was practiced by enthusiastic “phreaks” in the middle of the 20th century to learn how telecommunications networks operated. Phreaking with fishing is phishing.

How is phishing done?

Phishing attacks all adhere to the same fundamental rules, whether sent by email, social media, SMS, or another vector. The attacker gives the victim a well-prepared pitch intended to convince them to click a link, download an attachment, transmit required data, or even finish a payment.

17 Types of Phishing Attacks

1. Link manipulation

Phishers will send links that look like they connect to one URL but go to another when clicked. Common techniques include putting the name of a reputable website as the link’s display text or purposeful misspellings (for instance, “only” vs. “onIy,” the second of which includes a capital I). They are often referred to as homograph assaults.

2. Cross-site scripting

Skilled phishers can use scripting flaws to steal a website and use it for their own purposes. Because everything on the website, from the URL to the security certificates, seems to be real, cross-site scripting is difficult to detect.

3. Phishing on social media

Some assailants can access users’ social media accounts and pressure them into sending harmful links to their friends. Others make false identities and use these identities to phish other people.

4. Google Docs and Dropbox phishing

Popular cloud services make it very appealing to phishing targets. Attackers will create fake login panels, capture your credentials as you input them, and then take all of your files and data for themselves.

5. Email phishing

The most popular technique is email phishing sends the phishing bait via email. These emails frequently have attachments with malware or connections to nefarious websites. To know which emails to avoid, we’ll demonstrate what a phishing email may look like later in this article.

6. Phishing websites

Phishing websites are fake versions of reputable websites that you know and trust. They are sometimes referred to as faked sites. Hackers create these fake websites to trick you into entering your login information so they may access your real accounts. Another typical method of online phishing is pop-up ads.

7. Evil twin phishing

When a malicious wireless access point pretends to be a reliable WiFi network, it is known as an evil twin attack. Due to the frequent occurrence of these phishing attempts in coffee shops, they are sometimes called “Starbucks scams.”Once a user joins a fake wireless network, the attacker can access the user’s login information and any company data they may have accessed while using the network. Use a VPN or refrain from accessing private accounts while connected to unprotected public wifi networks to protect your data.

8. Watering hole phishing

A thief will identify websites your employees often visit and then infect one or more of those sites with malware to target businesses. The con artist can access your network and other sensitive data through malware. You can safeguard your company by deploying network security solutions to protect against malicious assaults and routine patch management procedures.

9. Angler phishing

A more recent type of phishing attempt is angler phishing. This con preys on victims via cloned websites, social media, and even phony private conversations.In angler phishing, a con artist locates their victims on social media by hunting for people who publish open complaints of a reputable business, such a bank or an online store. To fool the complainant into providing the hacker access to their personal information or account credentials, the attacker will pretend as a customer care account from that organization.

10. Pharming

Pharming is a sophisticated type of phishing where the victim is sent to the scammer’s preferred website. The internet’s domain name system (DNS), which transforms names of websites like “www.google.com” into IP addresses, is the focus of their “cache poisoning” attacks. The victim will subsequently be sent to a malicious website once the scammer changes the IP address linked to a website name. Before entering your login details, always check that the URL starts with “HTTPS” to be sure that your connection is secure.

11. Smishing

Smishing is the term for “SMS phishing,” or SMS text message phishing. Scammers use smishing to deceive victims into clicking on links that take them to harmful websites. These emails frequently give the impression that they are from reliable sources and tempt victims by including a promo code or a chance to win a free gift.

12. Vishing

Vishing is a term for “voice phishing” or phone-based fraud. In a vishing scam, a criminal phones a target’s phone and asks for personal or financial information. In order to avoid being reported, these con artists frequently fake their phone numbers to make it seem like they are phoning from a reputable company, such as your bank or even the IRS. These scams often use social engineering techniques to deceive a victim into disclosing personal information, including creating panic or a sense of urgency. It’s important to remember that reputable organizations would never call you and request confidential information like your login passwords.

13. Clone phishing

In a clone phishing attempt, a hacker makes almost identical copies of authentic emails from reliable sources to deceive you into disclosing personal information. These emails may occasionally be from your boss asking for your login information or a vendor asking you to confirm payment details. To deceive the receiver into clicking the link or missing an attachment in the original email, clone phishing scammers frequently claim to have to resend the email. Instead, a malicious URL that downloads malware onto the victim’s device has been used in place of the original link or file. Always click over a link in an email to check the URL before clicking it.

14. Whaling

Many executives skip the security training their companies mandate, making them even more prone to phishing attacks. Whale phishing, often known as whaling, is similar to a CEO scam gone wrong. Whaling assaults target senior executives, including CEOs, CFOs, and COOs, rather than lower-level staff. The objective is to con well-known targets into revealing private information only they would know, such as payroll or intellectual property. While some whale phishing assaults use fake email addresses, many scammers try to access an executive’s email account directly to con other executives.

15. CEO fraud

The term “CEO fraud” also refers to “enterprise email compromise” (BEC). CEO fraud occurs when a con artist frequently emails a worker from the accounting or finance department, posing as the firm’s CEO. The typical objective of a CEO fraud phishing scam is to get a victim to transfer money to a fake account. These communications are typically less personalized, frequently have mistakes, and come from fake email accounts because they are intended for lower-level staff. Businesses might lose billions of dollars due to CEO fraud.

16. Spear phishing

An instance of phishing that targets certain people or businesses is known as spear phishing. These phishing attacks entice victims into sharing their data by giving them a false sense of security using tailored information. They will investigate a victim’s internet activity, including their shopping habits and social media posts, to gather personal information that will make them appear to be reliable sources.

Someone could be more inclined to let their guard down when they see a phishing email that is personalized with their name, position, and even phone number. It’s common for spear-phishing emails to include malicious files or links to websites that look trustworthy. When receiving unexpected emails, always remain vigilant, even if the source seems reliable.

17. Deceptive phishing

In this scam, a thief pretends to be a well-known sender in order to get information like login passwords or personal information. These emails invite recipients to confirm account details, reset a password, or send money in an effort to deceive recipients into disclosing information.

Teach your staff to closely examine the sender’s email address, not just the sender’s name, to protect your company against misleading phishing. Generic greetings or improper syntax and spelling are frequent signs of misleading phishing, so keep an eye out for these.

Most Common Phishing Emails

  • You’re the big winner: As luck would have it, you’ve won a fantastic reward in a very special way. Entering your information is all that is required. For further information, see the World Cup hoax mentioned above.
  • Urgent matters: Phishers prefer to utilize urgency to pressure you into making poor choices. They want to terrify you into providing your personal information as soon as possible, whether promising a brief deal that seems too good to be true or threatening to terminate your account if you don’t act immediately.
  • A request for assistance: Phishers will pretend to be a friend or family member and explain that they are in need of money and are in some type of difficult situation. Sadly, vishing calls are frequently used to commit these scams on elderly victims.
  • Bank alert: When they see any unusual behavior or if an account is going to go into overdraft, many banks will notify their clients. Phishers aim to get victims to “confirm” their bank account details by using these beneficial services.
  • Billing/Invoice problem: You’ll be informed that anything you recently purchased online cannot be sent because of a billing problem. Your financial information will be requested on a fake landing page if you choose to go through, at which time the phishers will have it.
  • The government wants to get you: These emails are an attempt by the government to convince you to believe (and comply with) demands made by higher-ups. This phishing email will often threaten some type of terrifying punishment if you don’t disclose the desired personal information.
  • The government wants to give you money.  These emails are common around tax season and promise you a tax return if you would only quickly confirm your financial information.

Tips to Prevent Phishing

  • Always be cautious when visiting links in emails that are embedded since they might contain malware. Never click on URLs contained in messages you get from merchants or other third parties. To validate the request, go to the site directly by putting in the correct URL address. Before making any information requests, you should also study the vendor’s contact rules and processes.
  • Update your operating system and applications. Make sure you’re safe and up to date. Windows OS products are frequently the subject of phishing and other malicious attempts. Particularly for those who are still using any version of Windows before to 10.
  • Never trust alerting messages. Most trustworthy businesses won’t email you asking for account information or personally identifying information. This includes any business you do with, such as your bank or insurance provider. Delete any emails that request account information right away, and then call the business to make sure everything is well with your account.
  • Avoid opening any Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or PDF files in these suspicious or weird mails.
  • Use caution when disclosing sensitive information. Never click the link in an email alert you get from your bank or another significant organization. Instead, start a browser window and enter the URL straight into the URL field to verify the website is legit.
  • Change your passwords frequently since phishers can’t accomplish anything with them if they are no longer valid. To create complicated passwords and store them securely while regularly updating your passwords, use a password manager.
  • Be the one who carefully examines all of your financial statements by checking your accounts. If not, you risk missing a fraudulent charge. You should pay attention to your accounts and statements even though your banks and credit cards are typically fairly excellent at recognizing fraud.
  • Use an ad blocker. This advice might have read, “Don’t click pop-ups,” but if you do, most pop-ups will be stopped before you even notice them if you use an ad blocker. Pop-ups are a typical phishing technique, so if you encounter one, avoid clicking anywhere in it, even if there is a large “close” button. Use the little X in the corner at all times.
  • Read emails in plain text. This clever tip will aid in your ability to recognize phishing emails. When you change an email from HTML to plain text, you might see hidden picture URLs that aren’t displayed in HTML mode.
  • Use security software. A reliable antivirus program and a safe web browser will quickly identify phishing attempts and stop you from responding to them.

Importance of Internet Security Software

Installing and using reliable Internet security software on your computer is one of the simplest methods to prevent yourself from falling for a phishing scam. Any user needs internet security software because it offers many levels of security in a single, easy-to-manage package.

The following should be part of your security plan for the most trustworthy defense:

Anti-spam software protects your email account from spam and phishing emails. Anti-spam software includes intelligence skills to learn over time which things are spam and which are not, in addition to working with predetermined reject lists generated by security researchers. Therefore, even while you still need to exercise caution, you’ll feel a little more at ease knowing that the program is also filtering out any dangers. Use anti-phishing and anti-spam software to safeguard yourself from harmful communications that find their way into your computer.

Anti-malware is provided to shield against other dangers. Security experts develop anti-malware software, like anti-spam software, to detect even the most clever malware. Thanks to regular upgrades from manufacturers, the software keeps getting smarter and better equipped to handle the most recent attacks. Using anti-malware software, you can guard yourself against viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and more.
Suppose you mistakenly click on a harmful link. In that case, you may give additional backups that prevent your system from being hacked by integrating a firewall, anti-spam, and anti-malware into one package. As they are designed to supplement good judgment, they are an essential tool installed on all your PCs.

Even though the technology is a sector that is constantly changing, you may protect your devices from phishing and other malware threats by utilizing a security package from a reliable security provider.

15 Useful Ways to Secure Your Personal Information Online

Collection of easy-to-follow best practices and guidelines for safeguarding the privacy of your personal information and safeguarding your devices from dangers are listed here.

Conclusion

Businesses can recognize some of the most typical phishing attack types by using the suggestions given above. You still might not be able to identify every phish, though. The unfortunate fact is that phishing is continuously changing and incorporating new methods.

With that in mind, you must always be at the top of the game. Continue performing security awareness training to ensure that none of your executives or workers become victims.